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Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 22nd 04, 06:58 PM
Dan L.
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

I have a question and I would like to tell all prospective
metalworking machine buyers of a painful/expensive experience I had
with Smithy:

The question I had is there anybody out there that bought a Midas 1720
from Smithy and has had nothing but trouble from it?

As you can tell by my question, my story begins with the purchase of
the Midas 1720. I always dreamed of beginning a hobby in
metalworking. I didn't know where to begin. I found Smithy's
advertisement in a metalworking magazine. I received their brochure
and read as they claimed, "Smithy's are the highest-quality multi-use
benchtop machine tools in the world." "Smithy Lathe-Mill-Drill
machines offer the professional-quality precision and performance of
three machines in one." "When we say theses machines are versatile,
we mean it!" "You get the best machine: finest quality and high
accuracy." And finally they promised, "These machines are what we do
and we will take care of you. You have our promise." All these
claims, I quoted directly from their December 2000 advertisement.

Needless to say, I was impressed. I truly believed they would of made
a good partner with my new hobby because of my lack of knowledge and
their promises. I called their company and they recommend the Midas
1720. I spent the money I saved for two years and bought the Midas
1720.

From day one, I had nothing but trouble. I found the machine highly
inaccurate. The quill would actually flex on just about any cut. The
table had about inch backlash. After one month, a motor burnt out.
I also had an internal part in the mill head brake. When I took it
apart, I found the part to be made of a cheap pot metal.

Please note, I'm speaking now as someone with a little more
metalworking time under his belt. At the time, I had no idea what
kind of problems I was facing. I believed the problem was with my
inexperience and not with the machine. I still was in denial and
trusted Smithy.

This was all until the day I received their Father's Day 2004
advertisement. I glanced over it and stopped on a small story on the
bottom of page three. There, I saw a picture of the Midas 1720 with
an anti sign over it. I read in horror as Smithy denounced this
machine that they didn't bother to name. The article claimed how they
discontinued selling this machine but the company (China) is
continuing to import it. They were warning their customers not to buy
this machine because it's "Headstock & chuck too small for big 17"
swing." "Potential bearing wear: too small for swing." "Quill to
high, stroke too short making accurate milling difficult." "High
toolpost and vibration-prone design create flexing, diminish
accuracy." "Electrical design complicated and difficult to
troubleshoot." "No backlash adjustment of X & Y axis"

They went on to say that they sold this machine "years ago then
abandoned the project because the design just didn't work." All these
areas they describe was exactly the problems I was having. It then
dawned on me that it was in fact the machine that had the problem and
not me. So here's comes the painfully part.

Remembering Smithy's promises on how they would take care of their
customers, it was time to see if these were true. I called Smithy and
asked if they sold the Midas 1720. I was told that they no longer
sell it. This told me that the Father's Day advertisement was in fact
about the 1720. Even though the picture in the Father's Day ad showed
the 1720, I just wanted to be sure.

I spoke to one of their sales manager, henceforth shall be referred to
as T.S. I explained to him just what I have told you. There was a
moment of silence and without disputing the article or the machine,
T.S. asked, "What do you propose?"

Long story and several follow-up phone calls later, my proposal was
simple. Let's share the cost of this mistake. I would purchase a
comparable machine (1220LTD T.S. stated the 1220 replaced) with a 50%
discount. I don't know if this is the cost of manufacturing the
machine, but I suspect it is close. They might even break even on the
deal.

What do you think their answer was; remembering of course all their
claims of taking care of me? They offered to waive shipping if I
purchased the 1220 at their current sale price of $1895. So in
conclusion, I would have to spend around $4000 to get a machine that
can do what it was promised to do in the first place! Now you see the
painful part.

Well if nothing else comes of this, at least I was able to get this
off my chest. For future buyers of Smithy, read this and remember
caveat emptor! Oh buy the way; I did try to contact the Better
Business Bureau to resolve this issue and well, you get what you pay
for. That is entirely another posting.
Ads
  #2  
Old June 22nd 04, 07:59 PM
Grant Erwin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

Consider you paid $1500 for a lesson in how to research and buy things,
and $300 for a cheap tool. You bought something sight unseen from a glossy
ad in a magazine. You now have learned that this is a highly risky path.

The wisdom on this NG has been evolved over years. Buy used American machine
tools in decent condition. You could have bought a 9" South Bend lathe for
$1000 and a milling attachment for another $250 and you'd have had much
of the capability of the Smithy with no pot metal whatever. And years later
when you were ready to buy bigger machines you could have sold the South
Bend for about what you paid for it. Good luck getting 25% of what you paid
for the Smithy.

You ask has anyone else been screwed like you did? Sure they have. None
among us was born with the ability to resist human nature. We all want
a great deal with no stress and most of all we don't have to look for it,
it's right there in the magazine month after month. We build it up in our
minds until it seems like a rock-certain cinch. Hmm. For me it happened real
early when I answered an ad on a bubble-gum comic to make a ton of money
selling something.

Sell your Smithy locally to someone you don't know, for whatever you can
get for it, and start over. Don't waste time fantasizing about breaking
their kneecaps or suing them to oblivion. The lesson you have learned has
real value, even though it was real painful.

Grant Erwin
graduated cum laude from the school of hard knocks

Dan L. wrote:

I have a question and I would like to tell all prospective
metalworking machine buyers of a painful/expensive experience I had
with Smithy:

The question I had is there anybody out there that bought a Midas 1720
from Smithy and has had nothing but trouble from it?

As you can tell by my question, my story begins with the purchase of
the Midas 1720. I always dreamed of beginning a hobby in
metalworking. I didn't know where to begin. I found Smithy's
advertisement in a metalworking magazine. I received their brochure
and read as they claimed, "Smithy's are the highest-quality multi-use
benchtop machine tools in the world." "Smithy Lathe-Mill-Drill
machines offer the professional-quality precision and performance of
three machines in one." "When we say theses machines are versatile,
we mean it!" "You get the best machine: finest quality and high
accuracy." And finally they promised, "These machines are what we do
and we will take care of you. You have our promise." All these
claims, I quoted directly from their December 2000 advertisement.

Needless to say, I was impressed. I truly believed they would of made
a good partner with my new hobby because of my lack of knowledge and
their promises. I called their company and they recommend the Midas
1720. I spent the money I saved for two years and bought the Midas
1720.

From day one, I had nothing but trouble. I found the machine highly
inaccurate. The quill would actually flex on just about any cut. The
table had about inch backlash. After one month, a motor burnt out.
I also had an internal part in the mill head brake. When I took it
apart, I found the part to be made of a cheap pot metal.

Please note, I'm speaking now as someone with a little more
metalworking time under his belt. At the time, I had no idea what
kind of problems I was facing. I believed the problem was with my
inexperience and not with the machine. I still was in denial and
trusted Smithy.

This was all until the day I received their Father's Day 2004
advertisement. I glanced over it and stopped on a small story on the
bottom of page three. There, I saw a picture of the Midas 1720 with
an anti sign over it. I read in horror as Smithy denounced this
machine that they didn't bother to name. The article claimed how they
discontinued selling this machine but the company (China) is
continuing to import it. They were warning their customers not to buy
this machine because it's "Headstock & chuck too small for big 17"
swing." "Potential bearing wear: too small for swing." "Quill to
high, stroke too short making accurate milling difficult." "High
toolpost and vibration-prone design create flexing, diminish
accuracy." "Electrical design complicated and difficult to
troubleshoot." "No backlash adjustment of X & Y axis"

They went on to say that they sold this machine "years ago then
abandoned the project because the design just didn't work." All these
areas they describe was exactly the problems I was having. It then
dawned on me that it was in fact the machine that had the problem and
not me. So here's comes the painfully part.

Remembering Smithy's promises on how they would take care of their
customers, it was time to see if these were true. I called Smithy and
asked if they sold the Midas 1720. I was told that they no longer
sell it. This told me that the Father's Day advertisement was in fact
about the 1720. Even though the picture in the Father's Day ad showed
the 1720, I just wanted to be sure.

I spoke to one of their sales manager, henceforth shall be referred to
as T.S. I explained to him just what I have told you. There was a
moment of silence and without disputing the article or the machine,
T.S. asked, "What do you propose?"

Long story and several follow-up phone calls later, my proposal was
simple. Let's share the cost of this mistake. I would purchase a
comparable machine (1220LTD T.S. stated the 1220 replaced) with a 50%
discount. I don't know if this is the cost of manufacturing the
machine, but I suspect it is close. They might even break even on the
deal.

What do you think their answer was; remembering of course all their
claims of taking care of me? They offered to waive shipping if I
purchased the 1220 at their current sale price of $1895. So in
conclusion, I would have to spend around $4000 to get a machine that
can do what it was promised to do in the first place! Now you see the
painful part.

Well if nothing else comes of this, at least I was able to get this
off my chest. For future buyers of Smithy, read this and remember
caveat emptor! Oh buy the way; I did try to contact the Better
Business Bureau to resolve this issue and well, you get what you pay
for. That is entirely another posting.


  #3  
Old June 22nd 04, 09:00 PM
steamer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

--Believe everything you read, eh? Interesting, if a little
weird...

--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Frosted in glucose and
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : garnished with lark's vomit...
http://www.nmpproducts.com/intro.htm
---Decks a-wash in a sea of words---
  #4  
Old June 22nd 04, 09:56 PM
jim rozen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

In article , Grant Erwin says...

Sell your Smithy locally to someone you don't know, for whatever you can
get for it, and start over. Don't waste time fantasizing about breaking
their kneecaps or suing them to oblivion. The lesson you have learned has
real value, even though it was real painful.


I thought there was a regular here (Ted maybe?) who
swore by Smithy three-in-ones. Maybe he - or whoever
I was thinking of - could chime in at this point with
a suggestion.

Jim

==================================================
please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com
==================================================

  #5  
Old June 22nd 04, 11:35 PM
Jeff Wisnia
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

Dan L. wrote:

I have a question and I would like to tell all prospective
metalworking machine buyers of a painful/expensive experience I had
with Smithy:



Ah feel your pain Dan....But, three years after the purchase is a bit
late to start complaining to them. After all, they are not marketing
their products like household appliances and automobiles to people who
generally have no need for technical knowledge about how they should be
designed and what the normal industry performance standards should be.

You pretty much admitted that it was your lack of knowledge that made
you take so long to realize that you'd bought what you now consider a
POS. Consider your monetary losses as the price of some education and
move on. It's only iron (and pot metal too I guess), not flesh and blood.

I certainly wouldn't blame you for deciding never to buy from them
again, but denigrating the company on this newsgroup isn't really going
to accomplish much other that letting you blow off some steam. I suppose
that's a good thing, I'd hate to think of you "going postal" over it.G

Just my .02,

Jeff - Who learns from mistakes, but prefers that they are mistakes made
by others....


--
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."

  #6  
Old June 22nd 04, 11:35 PM
DoN. Nichols
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

In article ,
Dan L. wrote:
I have a question and I would like to tell all prospective
metalworking machine buyers of a painful/expensive experience I had
with Smithy:

The question I had is there anybody out there that bought a Midas 1720
from Smithy and has had nothing but trouble from it?


If you had come here and asked first, you would have been
advised to avoid *all* 3-in-1 machines. They are all compromises, with
varying degrees of success.

Usually, the lathe section is not *too* bad, but trying to use
the lathe cross slide as a milling table (and a milling vise as a
compound, or a compound as a milling vise) results in serious problems.
Some have managed to come to terms with these various machines, and
produce good work with them -- but life is *so* much easier with
separates.

As you have already been advised by another followup, buying
used machines, prefarably old American "iron". gets you better machines,
although it helps to know what to look for as signs of wear.

I have at present several machines, most of which are US made,
and one nice small Austrian lathe with CNC capabilities.

The serious size lathe is a Clausing 12x24" machine with lever
operated drawbar for 5C collets (maxim through size of 1", maximum short
grip of 1-1/8") and a bed turret. For mills I have a Bridgeport
Series-II vertical mill (being upgraded to modern CNC controls), and a
Nichols horizontal mill with 40-taper tooling.

The Clausing cost me $1700 (on eBay) IIRC.

The Nichols mill cost me $200 (also on eBay). Shipping (from
the Boston area to the Washington DC area) cost more than the purchase
for the Nichols, since it weighs in at 1100 pounds.

I forget what the Bridgeport cost, but I think that it was
around $1300.00 or so (plus shipping from California).

Smaller lathes should cost less -- and current prices for used
equipment are lower, as many machine shops are either shutting down, or
moving to CNC equipment in the interest of productivity.

Good Luck,
DoN.
--
Email: | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
(too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
--- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---
  #7  
Old June 22nd 04, 11:59 PM
Paul T.
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

I certainly wouldn't blame you for deciding never to buy from them
again, but denigrating the company on this newsgroup isn't really going
to accomplish much


I strongly disagree with that. If companies are selling junky products, this
is a great way to both let other potential customers know that so they can
stay away from them and also to possibly wake the company up to the fact
that the bad press from selling junky stuff has a negative impact to their
business. Particularly since these guys stated they would stand behind their
machines, they deserve to be exposed for not doing so.

Paul T.


  #8  
Old June 23rd 04, 12:20 AM
Richard J Kinch
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

Dan L. writes:

I received their brochure
and read as they claimed, "Smithy's are the highest-quality multi-use
benchtop machine tools in the world." "Smithy Lathe-Mill-Drill
machines offer the professional-quality precision and performance of
three machines in one." "When we say theses machines are versatile,
we mean it!" "You get the best machine: finest quality and high
accuracy." And finally they promised, "These machines are what we do
and we will take care of you. You have our promise."


The technical term in the sales biz for this type of talk is "puffing".
It means *nothing*, as no specific warranty is made. You should be
suspicious of any product, especially in a field like metalworking which
provides quantitative-measurable-verifiable specifications for every
aspect of a tool, that is sold primarily on puffery.

You said "T.S." asked you, "What do you propose?" That was actually a
good sign. This is the question that is asked by customer satisfaction
personnel in a business decent enough to want to actually correct your
problem. The mistake there was that you didn't ask enough or for the
right thing. You should have insisted they trade you for a comparable
machine (that worked more or less as the ads suggested) at their
expense, including shipping. They no doubt had already eaten dirt on
the lemon line you bought.

If that didn't work, I would have considered having my lawyer send them
a love letter.

Perhaps it is not too late for such action.

It is a service to many others that you post your experience here in a
well-written essay.
  #9  
Old June 23rd 04, 12:50 AM
wmbjk
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

On Tue, 22 Jun 2004 17:35:25 -0400, Jeff Wisnia
wrote:


I certainly wouldn't blame you for deciding never to buy from them
again, but denigrating the company on this newsgroup isn't really going
to accomplish much other that letting you blow off some steam.


Disagree. Assuming the details are correct, his post offers a heads-up
to others. We now know that the company sells models they don't check
out very well, and makes satisfaction promises they won't honor.
Half-off a new machine after three years might have been a bit much to
hope for, but the company's opinion that free shipping on a new
machine represented meaningful compensation is... at the very least
worth knowing about.

I got a laugh out of the quoted ad - "Smithy's are the highest-quality
multi-use benchtop machine tools in the world." "Smithy
Lathe-Mill-Drill machines offer the professional-quality precision and
performance of three machines in one." "When we say theses machines
are versatile, we mean it!" "You get the best machine: finest quality
and high accuracy." "These machines are what we do and we will take
care of you. You have our promise."

Contrast that with one of HF's silver-tongued claims about a similar
(but much cheaper) machine - "Every plumber needs one of these". :-)

Wayne
  #10  
Old June 23rd 04, 01:40 AM
Wild Bill
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Buyer beware! Smithy Company. Midas 1720

This was an appropriate place for your post. I'd expect that there are
others that are considering purchasing from the same company.
When I spoke with a Smithy rep, I detected a little too much arrogance about
their product quality. It's good for a company rep to be dedicated, but this
one was over-the-top.
Rather than explaining that I already knew that their machines were just
average Chinese machines, I just let him know I wasn't interested in being
on their mailing list.

Sorta ironic that they claimed the machine was highest quality, then condemn
it for inferior quality. Maybe you should file a complaint with the FTC just
for the hell of it, based upon the superior/inferiorior issue.

Enco (and the other dealers) sells a similar version to the one I have, at
about 50% of the Smithy price.

I purchased a used 1220XL 3in1 Smithy several years ago from a posting here
in RCM. I looked at it as a project, not a high grade machine. The seller
later stated that he was happy to have been able to sell it for about 30% of
what he'd paid.
I'd have been completely dissatisfied if I'd have bought the machine at full
price, based on the Smithy claims about quality.
Since I already had another lathe (which was capable of milling small
pieces), welder, drill press etc, I wasn't concerned about the initial
performance of the machine.

Using almost any metalworking machine effectively requires a certain level
of good mechanical skills and machining experience, IMHO.
I'm sure that some machine dealers exploit inexperience as a cover for the
poor quality of their machines.

After numerous modifications and corrections of the original factory
machining errors, these machines will do a satisfactory job within
reasonable expectations.
As I've mentioned before, the work envelope is fairly large on the milling
operation, and for small workpieces you'll need some rigid accessories to
hold your material securely. Those cheap China angle vises aren't
satisfactory for milling.

I know a guy that purchased a used machine similar to the one you have, made
by another company, and he likes it.
The 1220XL I have has the large cross feed/table with the covered feedscrew,
and I wouldn't have been interested in it if it would've been the small
version with the exposed screw.

Your options are probably limited to sell it, or fix it and use it. The
second choice certainly requires more effort (and time), but you'll know
what you have when you're done.
Another point about fixing it is that you might realize that the learning
experience is worthwhile.. that combined with being able to use it for what
you want to do might make the whole ordeal worthwhile.

WB
...................

"Dan L." wrote in message
m...
I have a question and I would like to tell all prospective
metalworking machine buyers of a painful/expensive experience I had
with Smithy:

The question I had is there anybody out there that bought a Midas 1720
from Smithy and has had nothing but trouble from it?

As you can tell by my question, my story begins with the purchase of
the Midas 1720. I always dreamed of beginning a hobby in
metalworking. I didn't know where to begin. I found Smithy's
advertisement in a metalworking magazine. I received their brochure
and read as they claimed, "Smithy's are the highest-quality multi-use
benchtop machine tools in the world." "Smithy Lathe-Mill-Drill
machines offer the professional-quality precision and performance of
three machines in one." "When we say theses machines are versatile,
we mean it!" "You get the best machine: finest quality and high
accuracy." And finally they promised, "These machines are what we do
and we will take care of you. You have our promise." All these
claims, I quoted directly from their December 2000 advertisement.

Needless to say, I was impressed. I truly believed they would of made
a good partner with my new hobby because of my lack of knowledge and
their promises. I called their company and they recommend the Midas
1720. I spent the money I saved for two years and bought the Midas
1720.

From day one, I had nothing but trouble. I found the machine highly
inaccurate. The quill would actually flex on just about any cut. The
table had about inch backlash. After one month, a motor burnt out.
I also had an internal part in the mill head brake. When I took it
apart, I found the part to be made of a cheap pot metal.

Please note, I'm speaking now as someone with a little more
metalworking time under his belt. At the time, I had no idea what
kind of problems I was facing. I believed the problem was with my
inexperience and not with the machine. I still was in denial and
trusted Smithy.

This was all until the day I received their Father's Day 2004
advertisement. I glanced over it and stopped on a small story on the
bottom of page three. There, I saw a picture of the Midas 1720 with
an anti sign over it. I read in horror as Smithy denounced this
machine that they didn't bother to name. The article claimed how they
discontinued selling this machine but the company (China) is
continuing to import it. They were warning their customers not to buy
this machine because it's "Headstock & chuck too small for big 17"
swing." "Potential bearing wear: too small for swing." "Quill to
high, stroke too short making accurate milling difficult." "High
toolpost and vibration-prone design create flexing, diminish
accuracy." "Electrical design complicated and difficult to
troubleshoot." "No backlash adjustment of X & Y axis"

They went on to say that they sold this machine "years ago then
abandoned the project because the design just didn't work." All these
areas they describe was exactly the problems I was having. It then
dawned on me that it was in fact the machine that had the problem and
not me. So here's comes the painfully part.

Remembering Smithy's promises on how they would take care of their
customers, it was time to see if these were true. I called Smithy and
asked if they sold the Midas 1720. I was told that they no longer
sell it. This told me that the Father's Day advertisement was in fact
about the 1720. Even though the picture in the Father's Day ad showed
the 1720, I just wanted to be sure.

I spoke to one of their sales manager, henceforth shall be referred to
as T.S. I explained to him just what I have told you. There was a
moment of silence and without disputing the article or the machine,
T.S. asked, "What do you propose?"

Long story and several follow-up phone calls later, my proposal was
simple. Let's share the cost of this mistake. I would purchase a
comparable machine (1220LTD T.S. stated the 1220 replaced) with a 50%
discount. I don't know if this is the cost of manufacturing the
machine, but I suspect it is close. They might even break even on the
deal.

What do you think their answer was; remembering of course all their
claims of taking care of me? They offered to waive shipping if I
purchased the 1220 at their current sale price of $1895. So in
conclusion, I would have to spend around $4000 to get a machine that
can do what it was promised to do in the first place! Now you see the
painful part.

Well if nothing else comes of this, at least I was able to get this
off my chest. For future buyers of Smithy, read this and remember
caveat emptor! Oh buy the way; I did try to contact the Better
Business Bureau to resolve this issue and well, you get what you pay
for. That is entirely another posting.



 




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